Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Centennials Schedule At A Glance:

This was written by Ian Webster in Tuesday's Merritt Herald:

The Merritt Centennials have released their schedule of games for the 2014-15 BCHL regular season.
The Cents’ 58-game schedule features 29 home games and 29 away games. The first two games (listed as one home and one away) take place at the third-annual Showcase in Chilliwack.

Merritt’s home game at the Showcase is against Cowichan Valley at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 20. Their away game is at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 21 versus the host Chiefs.

The Centennials’ official home opener is on Saturday, September 27 when they entertain the always-strong Penticton Vees. The unveiling of the Cents’ new centre-ice score clock is also expected to take place that night.

Merritt plays four of its five Interior Division rivals (Vernon, Salmon Arm, Trail and West Kelowna) seven times and the Vees eight times. They play all other BCHL teams in the Coastal and Island Divisions twice — once at home and once away.

Of the 28 Cents’ games actually played at the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, 11 are on Saturday, seven on Friday, five on Wednesday, four on Sunday afternoon and one on Tuesday.

In terms of Merritt’s 29 away games, 14 are on Friday, seven on Saturday, four on Wednesday, three on Sunday and one on Tuesday.

The Centennials’ longest home stands are from Saturday, December 13 to Friday, January 2 (five games) and from Saturday, January 10 to Sunday, January 18 (four games).

The Cents have two four-game road trips: from Friday, December 5 to Friday, December 12 and from lucky Friday, February 13 to Friday, February 20.

Merritt’s busiest months are November and January with 12 games each, followed by October and February (11 apiece), December (8) and September (4). November sees the most away games for the Cents (7) and January 
the most home games (7).

There are several notable Cents’ home games that should be circled on the calendar:

Saturday, September 27 vs. Penticton – The rivalry between these two teams has intensified year after year. The Vees knocked the Cents out of the playoffs last season in four straight.

Friday, October 17 vs. West Kelowna – The Cents have been snake bit by their cross-Connector adversaries for the last two seasons.

Saturday, October 25 vs. Powell River – New Cents’ goalie Jonah Imoo (see this Thursday’s Herald for full story) will want a piece of his former team big time.

Wednesday, Dec. 31 vs. Coquitlam – It’s New Year’s Eve, and the Cents would like nothing better than to ring in 2015 with a win over the defending BCHL champions.

Sunday, Jan. 18 vs. Nanaimo – Cents’ bench boss Luke Pierce loves going head-to-head with his former coach — the fiery Mike Vandekamp — who has history in Merritt.

Saturday, Feb. 28 vs. Trail
 – What better way to celebrate Fan Appreciation Night and the beginning of the post-season with a thumping of the Smokies.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Centennials Acquire Goaltender Jonah Imoo From Powell River:

The Merritt Centennials have added a 20-year old goaltender this week, bringing in Surrey's Jonah Imoo from the Powell River Kings.

Personally, I have been nothing but impressed in the games I have witnessed Jonah play, and I believe his playing style is a huge boost for the Centennials to have behind an already strong defensive core.

Jonah has been tried, tested and proven as a solidified number one in the BCHL, and it all began by allowing just 7 goals in his first 8 BCHL starts, before that momentum carried over to the 11/12 playoffs.

As a former teammate of current-Cent James Neil, Jonah sounds very excited about the opportunity to play in the Nicola Valley; and I for one am very excited to hear "Jonah, Jonah" chants throughout the season.

Here is the official release from the Centennials site:

Jonah, a Surrey product, has played in 82 career BCHL regular season games, with 41 wins under his belt to go along with an .892 Save % and a 2.82 GAA, all stats he has accured with the Powell River Kings.

In 2012/13, Jonah earned the opportunity to play goal for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. In all 4 of his teams games, Jonah was consistent and solid; finishing with a 2.24 GAA and an impressive .918 Save %.

"The opportunity to add a goaltender with the type of experience Jonah has had was too good of an opportunity to pass up." Centennials Head Coach/GM Luke Pierce stated, "He has proven both in the BCHL and in the World Junior A Challenge that he is capable of playing in high pressure situations."

Pierce also eluded to this move giving the Centennials an important piece of locker room experience.

"We have had a solid track record of goaltending in the past few years and are confident that Jonah can come in and help our team continue that tradition. He will be looked upon to add leadership to our room and embrace his role as a positive representative of this community."

"On behalf of the organization and the City of Merritt; I welcome Jonah to the Centennials and look forward to seeing him in August."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Centennials Welcome Big-Time Goal Scorer To Fold:

This is from Tuesday's Merritt Herald:

The Merritt Centennials have made a major move to add some more scoring prowess to their lineup for the 2014-15 BCHL season.

The hockey club has signed 18-year-old forward Michael Ederer, a native of Lancaster, New York, who played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League last season.

In 65 regular season and playoff games for the Jr. Sabres, the five-foot, 11-inch, 180-pound Ederer tallied 36 goals and added 28 assists for 64 points.

He finished fourth overall in team scoring and played a key role in helping the Jr. Sabres win the western division of the OJHL.

Ederer comes to the Centennials with a NCAA Division 1 scholarship already in hand. He has committed to play for the St. Lawrence University Saints in Canton, New York beginning in September 2015.

“We believe that Michael is a top-six player and that he will come and fit in well with our existing group,” said Cents head coach and GM Luke Pierce. “Hopefully, he’ll add some natural goal-scoring ability. He has some experience playing at the junior level which is always beneficial.”

Pierce went on to say that Ederer was keen to come out west to play his final year of junior.

“He saw it as a natural progression prior to heading off to school a year from now.”

The Buffalo Jr. Sabres front office and coaching staff is comprised of a who’s who of former NHL players with club president Larry Playfair, general manager and director of hockey operations Michael Peca, coach John Tucker and play-by-play announcer Ric Seiling.

The four combined played over 2,100 games and scored a total of 484 goals for the NHL‘s Buffalo Sabres alone.

The Jr. Sabres program has graduated numerous players who have gone on to NHL careers, including Brian Gionta (recently traded to the Buffalo Sabres by the Montreal Canadiens), Todd Marchant, Aaron Miller and Ryan Callahan.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Centennials Release 14/15 BCHL Regular Season Schedule:

Another season of Merritt Centennials BCHL Hockey is gearing up in the Nicola Valley, as the league schedule was released on Thursday.

The schedule is highlighted by a pair of home stretches that span five and four games. That span of games, in the timing they both fall, could mean very important points for the Centennials down the stretch.

The season opens in Chilliwack on September 20th and 21st, before the Centennials open the season on Friday, September 26th in Salmon Arm. The home opener will go on Saturday, September 27th at 7:30 PM against the Penticton Vees.

Questions regarding tickets and scheduling can be sent to marketing@merrittcentennials.com, we look forward to seeing fans at the rink!

Games of Note:

Pair of Games at BCHL Showcase - September 20th, 21st
-- Centennials take on Cowichan and Chilliwack to open the season at Prospera Centre.

Home Opener vs Penticton - September 27th
-- Cents open a new chapter of Centennials hockey in the Nicola Valley while looking for redemption against last season's playoff opponent. 

First Game vs Vernon - October 3rd
-- Hosts of 2014 RBC Cup visit the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, with under a handful of returnees on their roster.

Warriors Back In Town - October 17th
-- Growing rivalry makes one of three visits to Merritt, as Centennials look to regain success against Rylan Ferster's program.

Powell River Makes Lone Visit - November 8th
-- James Neil faces his former team as Centennials vs Kings match ups bring excitement to all areas of the ice.

'Backs In Town - November 29th
-- After being acquired by Merritt and then traded to Salmon Arm, Logan Mick joins his father Troy in the Shuswap. 

First Trip Through Island & Mainland - December 5th, 6th, 7th
-- Stops in Nanaimo, Victoria and Coquitlam sure to help team bond and grow closer as a unit.

Breaking In To Christmas vs Vernon - December 19th
-- Cents look to have momentum heading in to 11-day holiday break in midst of five game home stand.

Ringing In The New Year vs Defending Champs - December 31st
-- 5:00 start gives fans an opportunity to safely and enjoyably ring in the New Year while cheering their hearts out against Express!

Afternoon Affair With Clippers - January 18th
-- Afternoon game welcomes former Cents coach Mike Vandekamp back to town as Cents close four game home stand.

Final Five Home Games vs Trail - February 4th
-- Cents head in to final stretch of season with four home games in final ten regular season games.

Final Island Swing - February 13th, 14th, 15th
-- Points become of importance in final run to playoffs, experience of these trips always weighs in on team character. Stops in Powell River, Alberni Valley and Cowichan Valley.

Welcome Home, Send Cents To Playoffs vs 'Dogs - February 22nd
-- After four games on the road, Merritt returns home to face Alberni Valley with just three games to follow after this Sunday matinee.

Fan Appreciation Night - February 28th
-- Final regular season game as Trail Smoke Eaters visit Memorial Arena.